FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to the most common questions you may have surrounding Eleven Network.

Still can’t find the answer to your question? Feel free to contact us and our team of experts will happily get back to you.

Getting Started

Can I use my own company name, or do I need to take on the network brand?

You can absolutely choose your own name. You’re starting your own business and so it should carry your name. Of course, it may suit you to associate your business with us and piggyback on our brand (a link on your website perhaps), but there is no compulsion to do so. However, you will need to make sure the following statement is on the bottom of your website, email signatures and any material (eg brochures) you produce and send to the public.

“[Company Name] Ltd is an appointed representative of Eleven Network Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority” Please note that if you plan on using a sensitive name, ‘insurance’, ‘assurance’, ‘reinsurance’, then you’ll need to apply to the FCA’s sensitive names department to have this included.

How long until I can start trading?

To commence the process of registration we need a completed application form, a business plan and CVs for those with a controlling function in the business. This enables us to begin some background checking, including Credit Check, Referencing, Criminal Record Check and FCA Check. This normally takes 30 days.

From this point the application usually takes a further 30-60 days, during which time the contract and FCA Form As can be concluded. However, you won’t be able to start trading until your system software is built for you, which can take 6-8 weeks from signing the contract. If you need any extras, eg E-trade, then this can take additional time. Therefore, in total we would suggest that it can take between 8-12 weeks in total until you’re authorised to start trading.

Am I tied in for a lengthy period?

We have an initial 18-month contract, which is then replaced by a rolling three-month commitment agreement. We want to keep our Appointed Representatives on board for as long as possible, but we do not want to tie them in unwillingly. If people move on as their business grows and develops in new directions, then that is fair enough.

The only time we would look to draw a line through a contract is if people have been less than competent or persistently non-compliant in their working practices, or their personal circumstances have changed and they’ve picked up, for example, a CCJ for reasons more serious than a disputed parking ticket.

Are there other ties which will affect me in the longer term?

Not really. Departing ARs need to ensure that they leave either with all client debts paid or, at least, taking responsibility for the timely payment of such premiums shortly after departure. Given that, then we’re happy to participate in agency transfers away from us or, in rare circumstances, and if remunerated, to retain some clients until renewal but not to invite renewal when the time comes.

However, there may be some instances where some of your clients may not be able to transfer mid-term. If they are, for example, EDI, E-trade or on a closed Eleven Scheme and at mid-term, they’ll have to transfer at renewal.

Is there a minimum income criterion after a certain period?

There’s nothing set in stone but there is a basic threshold of viability that any broker has to cross if the business is going to be worthwhile for them, let alone for their network.

We understand it takes time to build up a brokering firm and that restrictive covenants may make things a little slow to start with. However, we would expect those that are going to make a go of it to produce £375,000 of gross written premium by the end of year three. There are always exceptions and where, for example, insurance is a secondary business then the gross written premium may be lower.

The bottom line is that if you’re running an economically viable business then we’ll be here to support you. If you’re struggling to do that then we’ll do everything we can to help you.

Am I targeted to support certain classes of insurance or insurers?
Eleven is not a sales manager and there is no prescription made about where business is placed or about what type of business is placed. That’s up to you. We’ve arranged preferential deals with some insurers but if you don’t want to use them that’s fine. We’re here to help you do business, not to tell you what to place and where to place it.
Do I own my own clients? Is this specifically identified in the contract?
Yes, and yes. Your clients are your clients, end of story. This is spelled out in the contract and we believe this is the best way to work. We help you run your business and you help your clients with their business. No crossover; no confusion.
Does the network also own an insurance broker?
Eleven does not own an insurance broker. Apart from anything else, this means we have to make a success of running the network. The network is our core business. In fact, it’s our only business and we’re utterly focused on making it the best it can be and providing the highest level of service to you and your clients.
What qualifications do I need?

We prefer you to a have certain level of insurance-based qualifications from the CII – at least a Certificate in Insurance (CERT CII). However, the years of experience is the crucial part.

If you don’t currently have this, we’ll accept a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the industry. However, we do ask that you achieve a minimum of a CERT CII (as per the contract and business agreement) within 3 years of joining and, preferably, within the first 18 months or so. We can be flexible about this with the ‘more mature’ applicant coming with 25+ years of relevant experience.

Set-up Costs

Is there a joining fee?
No, but there is an £1,800 set-up fee in respect of the Acturis system.
Do you charge for system training?

No, not initially. All new members get up to two days of free training from Eleven on the use of our systems. We also provide free renewals and reports training later.

If you need additional training, then there may be some cost involved, depending on what and where it is. However, we only ever seek to cover our own costs. Training is not a profit centre within Eleven.

Do I need a proper office?

It really depends on how you like to work and how much capital you have. We’re trying to reproduce the situation of 30 years ago when people started their businesses from scratch and turned them into some of today’s big hitters.

We want to foster that spirit of entrepreneurship in the broker market and so, whether starting from a back bedroom, using a spare room in another office or renting office space from the likes of Regus, we’re happy to support you. With flexible office space, however, we do advise that you don’t commit yourself to their telephone system, unless it features call-recording.

So long as you take a professional approach, it matters not a lot where you start from.

Do I have to set up a company?

Yes. If not a limited company then we need you to establish a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). There are three main reasons why we insist on this.

  1. It creates a formal structure, which provides a good framework for future growth and sets an ambitious ethos from the outset.
  2. It means published accounts are readily available, which helps us manage all our Appointed Representatives more easily.
  3. It allows us to put our Appointed Representatives on credit watch and find out about things like County Court Judgments that have been made against them.

It is not about playing Big Brother, we just want to play fair, keep everyone on a level footing and make sure we don’t have the wool pulled over our eyes.

Do I have to get a Consumer Credit License?
No, not any more since the FCA took over regulation of Consumer Credit from the OFT. Therefore, there is no longer any direct cost to ARs while our current annual fee remains in its existing ballpark. However, regulatory costs have a habit of multiplying over time and so the present position might change at some point in the future.
Do I need to register as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act/ GDPR?

Yes, you do. However, the good news is that this will only take a matter of days. The Information Commissioner’s Office will sort it out for you: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/register/. In short, you’ll be put on a register detailing who you are, the sort of information you hold on clients and what you use it for. It really is nothing to worry about.

There is also some mandatory compliance training, which covers Data Protection and the GDPR, through our online learning system.

What physical kit do I need to get started?

To start trading you’re going to need a computer, a broadband connection, a printer, a scanner, letterhead stationery, compliment slips and business cards.

It’s then a good idea to get a website, we offer a solution for new brokers to create a modern and fully optimised website from a template, free of charge, you will just need to budget in for hosting, which we can also assist you with. In total, the basic tools of the trade, along with some initial investment in marketing, should not cost more than £5,000.

A breakdown of our Marketing Support Services can be read here.

FCA Regulation

In terms of FCA regulation, what are the implications for my business?
As an Appointed Representative, Eleven is your Principal Firm who are Directly Authorised from the FCA, and you obtain your insurance broking permissions through your agreement with us. Your responsibilities are, therefore, the same as for any other broker: you must comply with the rules, regulations and the standards the FCA has set and as they are interpreted by Eleven. The difference is that you don’t have to spend time and money working out what the correct interpretation is. However, we will give you full support for the compliance required of you as an Appointed Representative and you won’t incur the expense in time and money checking what you need to do.
Are there standard documents I can use?
Yes, absolutely. The Eleven system has all the templates and standard documents you’ll need in the everyday running of your business, saving you huge amounts of time and effort. So long as you follow the process, our IT system will produce the appropriate compliant documents for you to use. We’re continuously evolving our IT so that we can cater for all the specialised and niche lines that our Appointed Representatives deal in.
What compliance support do I receive?

The procedures we have put in place form the bedrock of our compliance offering and so long as you follow them, you’ll remain on the right side of the Financial Conduct Authority. In the first quarter, our Broker Development and Inspection Managers visit new Appointed Representatives regularly just to make sure you’re getting everything in place and to help where they can.

Thereafter, visits are usually quarterly. We’ll check the processes you’re using and tell you what’s new from a compliance perspective. Each Appointed Representative is then audited remotely by our compliance auditors, giving each business an ongoing MOT and keeping them within the letter of the law.

What professional indemnity cover is in force?
You’re covered to the tune of £5m by our PI insurance.
Is there an excess. If so, am I liable for it?

Excess is set for ARs at £25,000 unless you’re contributing to the mutual excess buy back fund, in which case the excess is reduced to £15,000.

You will have to foot the bill if it turns out that the mistake was yours. Equally, if the error is down to Eleven, then we will pay. If we’ve both contributed, then we split it.

Who pays for the PI insurance policy?
Essentially, it’s wrapped up into the commission share agreement and so there’s normally no separate charge for it. However, with a small handful of niche brokers who tend to handle much of their own administration, then there’s a nominal supplement to pay towards the professional indemnity cover.
What market fees will I be responsible for?
There are no market fees paid by the AR. The network pays the FCA fees and the FSCS levy. However, since 2009 when our Compliance Charge leapt up by 1,000% due to other people mis-selling PPI, we do now charge a small policy fee to each client on most policies above a certain level of premium. Currently set at £10, it’s the AR’s responsibility to explain this fee to their client.

IT Systems & Support

What IT infrastructure do I need?

As we’ll be supplying you with the systems you need to run your business, there are a certain set of minimum requirements regarding your IT setup when joining Eleven. These are listed out in the following sections.

If you need any advice or guidance with any of the below, please contact our Helpdesk on 01844 340 217 and we’ll be glad to help.

Computer Hardware and Operating Systems

The Acturis broking system that you’ll be using is a Microsoft Windows-based package, which means that you won’t be able to use Mac hardware or a Mac operating system for your day-to-day broking. If you don’t have a PC running Windows 10 then you’ll need to buy one before we can install the necessary software and get you up and running.

The minimum specification of PC hardware to run the Acturis system is as follows:

  • At least an Intel Core i5 or equivalent AMD processor
  • 8Gb RAM (Operating Memory)
  • 256Gb SSD (Storage Memory)
  • Windows 10 64-bit Professional
Broadband

Having a fast and stable Internet connection is going to be essential to your business, for access to the broking system and for general email and browsing. You should be looking to get a business grade connection of at least 20Mbps, but the faster the better.

Fibre to the Cabinet or Fibre to the Premises (FTTC and FTTP respectively) connections are available in 95% of the UK so you should have no problem getting this. If your provider says that the above connections are not available in your area, then you should speak to them about alternatives.

If you’re in a shared-office environment, ask the internal IT provider for an uncontended service of at least 20Mbps.

Scanning
You’ll need to scan documents on a regular basis; therefore, we recommend a sheet-fed scanner as opposed to a flatbed. Please make sure that the scanner can produce compressed PDF files as this will be the primary format you’ll be using.
Your domain name

If you don’t currently have a domain name, we recommend that you register your new domain with 123-Reg. Please bear in mind that there are certain FCA rules about how your company name and, therefore, your domain name can be worded, so please contact us before making your purchase if you’re unsure.

You can go to https://www.123-reg.co.uk/domain-names/ to buy your preferred domain. Once this has been done and you’ve created an account with 123-Reg, we’ll need your chosen username and password for this site so we can set up the domain with the required Office 365.

If you already have a domain name, we’ll need the username or password for any control panel or portal you currently use to manage your domain name so that we can make the changes necessary to set you up with the required Office 365.

Alternatively, if you currently have a third party that manages your domain name for you, we’ll need contact details for them and also authorisation to make the changes. The changes will involve the creation of multiple DNS records which allow your domain to be used by Office 365. We can communicate these changes to any third party ahead of the actual changes being made so that they can be verified.

With an existing domain name, we’ll assume that you already have an email account. As part of the process of setting you up, we’ll need to migrate your existing email system to the Office 365 email account.

If required, we can import your existing emails, contacts and calendar appointments to the new system.

Office 365

We require the use of Microsoft Office 365 for your email and office software to allow you to integrate seamlessly with the Eleven systems, but the setup depends on whether you already have a domain name and if you already have a Microsoft Office subscription.
The standard setup is for us to bill you for the number of licenses/mailboxes that you need and we host them on our system. The current monthly cost for each mailbox is £20 and this includes the following:

  • Email mailbox
  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Publisher
  • E-Mail archive
  • Skype for Business
  • SharePoint license
  • Eleven portal access

If you already have Office 365 or have a requirement to be billed for your own licenses, please call the Helpdesk and we can guide you through the necessary steps.
Once your mailboxes are set up, we’ll remotely set them up on your PC, install the Microsoft Office suite and migrate any existing email.
Acturis will be charged at £150 (inc VAT) per month for the first licence, then £125 for the second and subsequent licences. There is also a one-off £1,800 branch setup fee.

What kind of phone system should I buy?

Initially you may start out with just a mobile. However, from a perception point of view (to avoid the impression of a small one-man band), you might want to get a landline and telephone handset. We recommend the Eleven VOIP telephone system, which costs £75-£125 for the handset and a £10 monthly licence charge.

The benefit of this is that calls between you and us are totally free, plus all calls will be recorded, which is an FCA requirement. It’s also integrated into our recommended Office 365 system, which means we can see if you’re available and vice versa. You can also set up your own IVRs, use a local or non-geographical or existing number. And we can answer calls on your behalf.

What happens if I have an IT problem?

We have an IT support team to maintain and develop Acturis for the network. Often the problems that may affect the use of a broking system will have a root cause somewhere else, in which case we find ourselves drawn into solving IT issues that are not really our own.

Many ARs have a local IT supplier and/or consultant who often tend to be a client, which is where we would ideally like the demarcation to rest, once we have decided that an issue is not Acturis related, which is not always altogether obvious. That said, we do frequently go beyond our remit and help to resolve problems that are not really our own.

Business Support

What support will I receive when placing business?

We’ll give you as much support as you want and need. The model is set up so that Eleven acts like a large broker with our Appointed Representatives taking on the role of account executives and our own staff taking on the account handler role. That basically means you get to spend most of your time in front of clients and we spend all of our time making sure the placing and administration of your business runs as smoothly as possible.

Will the agencies be in my name or the network’s name?

The agencies are all held in Eleven’s name and there are around 200 in total. Most of the business that goes through Eleven gets placed with less than 50 of these agencies, but as new members have joined us, they have brought agencies that are important to their business and which they are keen to retain. We have mostly been happy to take these on until a better alternative is available at renewal.

If I speak to insurers, how will they recognise me?
At Eleven we rely on the power of old-fashioned introductions. We’ll make sure you’ve met the insurers you’re using before you start trading, and this should help get the relationship off to a great start.
Will I receive favourable terms from insurers?

Yes – this is very much the rationale behind Eleven and we’re here to bring smaller brokers together under a single banner and give them a bigger voice when it comes to dealing with insurers.

So far, we’ve managed to amalgamate lots of smaller brokers and their various premium incomes to create the footprint of a medium-sized broker. We want to build on that success and, as we get bigger, we’ll get better terms for our Appointed Representatives. The more brokers we have and the more business they do, the more we can push insurers to give better deals. We’re all in this together and our shared success will come from our shared strength.

Is there expertise and assistance available when assessing certain clients’ needs and arranging unusual covers?
Yes. Most of our Appointed Representatives are very capable account executives with up to 15 years of experience under their belts and so, in most cases, the day-to-day handling of clients will be their bread and butter. However, we have some very senior market figures in our ranks and their wealth of experience is at your beck and call if needed for certain cases or client visits.
What contact do I receive from the network?
Apart from the initial setup meetings and periodic regulatory visits, you’ll be in day-to-day communication with the broking teams, which contributes most to the overall ‘spirit of partnership’. Apart from that, you’ll receive regular email updates about all things Eleven, from compliance and regulatory updates to details of new insurer products or IT changes.
How do I receive documentation from insurers?
Via Eleven in a mixture of paper and electronic formats; electronic becoming the norm. In circumstances where you’re on holiday, for example, we can send documents straight to the client, but we prefer to send it back to you so you can check everything is as it should be.
What help do I get with claims?
We’ve found from experience that it’s better for clients to deal directly with their brokers for their claims. We add value by offering our claims experts to get involved in certain claims, which allows us to put extra pressure on insurers should they prove difficult, which is often very successful.
What back-office support will I receive?

The whole kit and caboodle. Our complete focus is on allowing you to service clients and so we take care of your IT, your administration and your compliance. We’re currently looking to offer Appointed Representatives a phone answering service as well.

We also realise that as some ARs grow and evolve, they want to take on more of this work for themselves and take a greater measure of control over their business. We have, therefore, flexed our model to give some ARs more of that freedom if they want it, under regulatory supervision.

How will I be kept in touch with market changes?

Whether it’s via the Eleven extranet, the electronic newsletters, the annual conference or the multiple training days, there should be no reason for you to miss out on any changes that are happening in the market.

Commissions & Earnings

How do we share commissions?
Each AR has their own deal individually negotiated with us and set out in their contract. The split is likely to vary over time depending on exactly who does what, but the starting point is generally 60:40 in your favour. It really depends on things like your size, what you’re earning in terms of margin, the number of policies for a given GWP and how much of the administration work you’ve taken on.
Are the commission earnings transparent?

Absolutely! We don’t hide anything or keep other deals we have in place secret. If, for example, we’re in the frame for a substantial commission override, then we tend to split that with our ARs once it’s been earned.

Can I collect premiums from clients? What are the client money implications?

You can only collect premiums from clients in Eleven’s name and no client money must ever hit your bank account as you’re not regulated to hold client money. Only we can hold client money. Where premiums are paid by cheque, it should be made out to Eleven and likewise premium finance arrangements should be administered by Eleven.

On the rare occasion a cheque is made out in your name, we have a letter of authority you can use that will allow you to pay the money directly into Eleven’s account without you having to bank it. There’s also an Eleven paying in book that will allow you to take cash and pay it directly into our account. In no circumstances should you take it upon yourself to hold client money.

What credit terms are available?

Our invoices say 7 days but we recognise that some commercial clients can take up to 30 days to settle. However, once it gets to more than 45 days, we’ll give 7 days’ cancellation notice on the policy. We expect most private lines policies to be paid for at inception. We believe this to be a flexible but ultimately firm approach.

Who issues the client invoice?
We generate the invoice electronically, but you print it out on your own stationery and issue it to your client. That’s sounding a bit old-fashioned, as there are now electronic stationery options and invoices can also be emailed.
Can I collect part premiums?
Only as part of an instalment plan; we don’t do post-dated cheques and the like. Clients either must pay in full or sign up to a premium finance deal.
Can I offer instalments and, if so, are the terms flexible?
Yes, you can. Terms vary with each policy, but options are available through Close Premium Finance, with whom we have a longstanding relationship.
Can I receive an override commission on premium finance?
Yes. 1% is the standard override if the ‘normal’ interest rate is charged. If, however, the client takes a higher interest rate then you keep anything over and above that 1% margin; or you can elect to take a smaller override to support a rate reduction. TCF must always remain a priority when considering charges.
What happens if the client doesn’t pay the premium?
The policy gets cancelled. After 45 days, we’ll give 7 days’ notice of cancellation and if the premium remains unpaid the policy will be voided, with an appropriate charge made.
Who reconciles the insurer accounts?
We take care of that. All the business done by our Appointed Representatives gets amalgamated into a single account for each insurer, which we then settle.
How will I know the premium has been paid to the insurer?
We’ll let you know, and you’ll also be able to see on the Acturis system and MI Portal that the insurer or Eleven has received the premium.
When do I receive my commission and how is this communicated to me?

You’ll receive your commission on or about the 4th of the month following the month of debit and receipt of payment. You’ll be able to see the progress of everything via our MI Portal and the funds will be transferred straight into your bank account electronically.

If a risk is financed then there’s normally a further month’s delay before you receive your commission payment; likewise, Direct to Insurer (DTI) instalment schemes, at best.

Be aware, DTI commissions can take longer, depending on the insurer, some of whom are slower than others.

Who’s responsible for bad debts?
You’ll be responsible for bad debts and will have to settle any fees resulting from the client not paying their premium and time on risk charges being levied. However, so long as you follow our credit control guidelines then the chances of getting charges are negligible. Therefore, with insurers consent, we are firm about issuing a 7 day cancellation notice if payment hasn’t been received after 45 days.
How will I be informed of the commission amounts?

For individual cases, the Acturis system will tell you exactly how much has been paid.

For detailed, real-time amounts, refer to your MI Portal, which shows rolling monthly commission.